Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Manufacturing's race to the bottom

While not a universally negative phenomenon by any stretch, globalization has clearly created a race to the bottom in the manufacturing industry. This isn't exactly old news, this NPR story has a twist, new yet old at the same time.

The signature of the NAFTA "free trade" agreement opened the door for countless American factories to flee to Mexico, where industry wasn't burdened by government regulations demanding terrible things like clean air and fair treatment of workers. Workers in Mexico then got uppity so many factories then fled to other places, including China. But now even the costs of Chinese sweatshops are 'too high' for the sharks so many factories are being moved from China to Vietnam.

I wonder where the factories in Vietnam will move to when workers there start demanding more than two cents a day and the ability to go to the bathroom during work hours.

Note: PBS' NOW program a good dossier about how a provision in NAFTA is being used by corporations to undermine democracy.

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